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Clemson vs. Wake Forest Notes

Clemson Vs. Wake Forest Notes
Clemson Sports Information Department

Clemson vs. Wake Forest Series
Clemson owns 59 wins over Wake Forest in history, its second highest victory total over any opponent. Clemson has 65 wins over South Carolina. Forty-nine of those wins against Wake Forest have taken place since the ACC was formed in 1953.

Clemson is 35-7 against Wake Forest in games played in Clemson and is 30-7 in Death Valley in the series that dates to a 13-0 Clemson win in Charlotte in 1933. Clemson has won three in a row in the series, all under Head Coach Dabo Swinney, by a combined score of 99-41.

The Tigers won last year 31-28 on a 43-yard field goal by Chan¬dler Catanzaro on the last play of the game. Clemson won 30-10 the last time the two teams met at Winston-Salem, and 38-3 at Clemson in 2009. Wake Forest’s last win was by a 12-7 margin in 2008 in Tommy Bowden’s last game as Clemson head coach.

Wake Forest Coach Jim Grobe has a 3-8 record against Clemson in his 11 previous years at Wake Forest. All three of the wins have taken place at Wake Forest. He is 0-5 in Death Valley and Wake Forest has not won at Clemson since 1998 when Jim Caldwell coached the Demon Deacons to a 29-19 win.

Wake Forest has won just twice at Clemson since 1962 and Caldwell won both games. He also defeated Clemson in 1993, Ken Hatfield’s last year as Clemson coach.

Clemson won the 2006 game at Wake Forest, 27-17. The late Gaines Adams had a game changing 66-yard fumble return on a botched field goal attempt in the fourth quarter to cut the Demon Deacons lead to 17-10. The Tigers scored 24 points in the fourth period to gain the victory. C.J. Spiller had a 72-yard run in that game. Wake Forest went on to win the ACC Championship that year.

Clemson played at Wake Forest three times in a four-year period from 2003-06. Clemson was 1-2 at Wake Forest during that time. The Deacs won 45-17 in 2003 against a Clemson team that finished the year 9-4 and ranked in the top 25 in the nation. Clemson won four in a row after that game and Wake Forest lost its last three games. Wake Forest also won in 2005 at Winston-Salem.

Clemson has a 49-9-1 edge in the series since 1953 or since the formation of the ACC, a .835 winning percentage. Clemson has played Wake Forest in football 59 consecutive years, as the last year the two schools did not play was 1952. The two schools are in the same division, so they will continue to play annually.

Clemson has a 21-10-1 lead in the series in games played at Wake Forest, including 13-6-1 in games played at Groves Stadium. Only one coach in history won as many as four games against Clemson without a loss in Death Valley and the coach was from Wake Forest. Frank Howard and Peahead Walker had a close friendship, but Peahead had a 4-0 record against Howard in Death Valley. Walker fielded some tough teams, but lost five in a row to the Tigers (1937-41), including his first two outings against Frank Howard, 39-0 and 29-0, after Jess Neely’s departure to Rice in 1940. Peahead’s response was to win six in a row against Howard (1942-47), knocking #16-ranked Clemson out of a likely AP “top 20” finish in 1945 with a season-ending 13-6 victory.

Even if Peahead conceded that three of his wins (1942-44) were during Howard’s depleted “war years,” he still held a 3-2 edge over his soon-to-be comedic partner on the gridiron speaking circuit. In the final three years of the Howard-Walker rivalry (1948-50), both the Tigers and Deacons were at their strongest. In going undefeated in both 1948 and 1950, Clemson faced only one “top 20” team in regular season play each year: Peahead’s #19 Wake Forest in 1948 and his #17 Deacs in 1950, both on the road. Howard’s 21-14 and 13-12 wins, respectively enabled his Tigers to finish #11 and #10 in the nation; Peahead’s 1948 Deacons settled for a #20 national ranking.

At Clemson in 1949, Wake Forest decisively defeated the home team, 35-21, which means the Howard-Peahead rivalry ended in a 4-4 tie if one disregards the “war years.” Howard was 16-1-1 against the Deacons after Peahead’s departure (1951-69).

Clemson had a 7-3 record against Wake Forest under Tommy Bowden, but five of the seven Clemson wins were decided by 10 points or less. The two teams have played at three neutral sites games over the years, including Tokyo, Japan. Clemson won that game in 1982 by a 21-17 score to close out an ACC Championship season. Clemson defeated a Wake Forest team on Halloween Day 1981 by an 82-24 score. That is the highest scoring game in ACC history involving two league teams. Clemson was 12-12 on third down in that game, still a school record. The Tigers went on to win the national championship that season.

Clemson On Thursday Night
Clemson has a 1-9 record on Thursday night over the years. Clemson’s only win on Thursday night was at NC State in 2005, a 31-10 win. While Clemson has a 1-9 mark on Thursday night, it should be noted that seven of the nine losses have been to top 25 teams and seven of the nine losses have been on the road. Clemson is 0-1 at Wake Forest on Thursday night, a 12-7 loss in 2008.

Clemson played at home on a Thursday night in the ESPN package against Georgia Tech in 1998 and against NC State in 2002. Those are Clemson’s only two Thursday night home games. Georgia Tech entered that 1998 game ranked 22nd in the nation, but finished the season 10-2 and ranked ninth in the nation. The 1999 Virginia Tech team finished 11-1 and ranked second in the country. The 2002 NC State team finished with a school record 11 wins and a top 20 ranking.

Playing on Thursday is not new for Clemson historically. Clemson and South Carolina used to play on “Big Thursday” every year between 1909 and 1959. The game was played in Columbia in conjunction with the State Fair. Clemson did not win a Thursday game between 1964 and 2004. The Tigers played on Thanksgiving Day in 1963 due to the death of President Kennedy. Clemson’s last win on a Thursday was against Temple in 2006, a game that was played in Charlotte and was televised by ESPNU. Clemson won that contest 63-9. It is not counted in the list because it was not a part of ESPN’s Thursday package.

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Scott Rhymer can be reached at scottrhymer.tps@gmail.com

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